Trump tariffs threaten Alabama’s auto industry

President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum are a threat to Alabama’s auto industry, according to Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield.

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“We end up exporting about $10.9 billion worth of value in vehicles to 88 countries across the globe,” he told FOX BusinessStuart Varney on “Varney & Co.” on Monday. “So we’re concerned that a tariff war, or even if we want to call it a tariff skirmish, potentially can cause disruptions in terms of the supply chain.”

Alabama would be one of six states directly impacted by Trump’s plan and while it’s too early to tell whether they have had a significant impact so far, Canfield said they have created some uncertainty.

Some projects with “substantial capital investments” have had to be pushed back, according to Canfield. “The timeline of those has shifted to the right due to, we think, some of the uncertainty in the international market,” he said.

The tariffs would have significant impact long-term, he added.

“If this becomes a protracted situation and it causes the components that go into vehicles that are actually assembled in the state of Alabama to become so expensive that the people and consumers stop buying them, then production falls,” he said.

In his opinion, no tariffs would promote free trade and allow his state to “compete on equal footing."

Alabama is the third-largest auto exporter in the U.S., according to the state. Mercedes-Benz, which manufactures cars and SUVs in Alabama, has contributed about $5 billion in annual exports.